Walk Through The Web Wednesday – 5/10
Well, it looks as though someone forgot to push the button that would have published our Wednesday blog on Wednesday. Mind you, I’m not casting any aspurrsions on anyone but one would think that when you have a Purrsonal Assistant that now has a more flexible schedule, said assistant might be better organized. Oh well, she’s a work in progress.
We are all making adjustments to having The Human work from her home office. In some ways we’re feeling a bit uncomfortable as our regular daily routines are constantly interrupted but, truth be told, it’s kinda’ fun having The Human around more. I’m not sure what’s up with Oliver but he seems to be a bit discombobulated with the new routine.
As I said, we’re all getting used to the new routine. Here are some moments from this past week.
And now let’s take a look at the feline focused news of the week.
New Findings on How to Get a Cat’s Attention
I find it amewsing that you humans are always writing about how to figure out the mysterious felines in your home. Now researchers are asking the question, how do cats get their information. It’s been assumed over the years that, like horses and elephants, hearing is the most honed sense of the feline species. This has been assumed because our closest relatives—tigers, lions, and other big cats—are vastly superior at hearing than at any other sense. Now, a recent study casts doubt on these assumptions.
Researchers tested four conditions: only hearing, only seeing, both, and neither. The question was which of these conditions was most likely to draw a cat’s attention to the experimenter. While it should be acknowledged that the sample size of the experiment was somewhat small (18) and that the cats that served as subjects have “worked” in a cat cafe for years, and so presumably had had more exposure to humans than other cats, the results were pretty clear and extremely surprising: Vision alone, and vision plus hearing, were by far the most efficient ways of grabbing the cats’ attention.
How did the senses of big cats get reversed in house cats? An obvious explanation, and one consistent with the details of this experiment, is that the mental life of house cats have been adjusted to the human social environment. The visual cues that the experimenters used were mainly visual social cues, like eye contact and slow blinking. So what the results really show is that cats are good at visual cues as long as they are also social cues.
Another myth you humans need to completely debunk is that we felines are not loving. Recent experimental results show how mistaken this belief is: Cats may like to hide it, but they really do care a lot about their owners. Dogs just show this in a more obvious manner. So there you go and this feline is very happy that some of these ridiculous stereotypes are being destroyed.
The Product Cats Have Always Wanted: “Just a Box!” From Hepper
Some brilliant humans have created “Just a Box“, the first box created for and sold to felines.
The idea was born from a conversation between the company Hepper’s CEO and Director. After spending years creating products that please both cats and humans, this time, they decided to go straight to the source and to provide a product that cats really want…a box!
Just a Box is a darn good box and yes, it’s made from cardboard. Hepper added their signature touch, a delightful collection of illustrations crafted by Hepper’s creative mastermind, Sofia Feraboli. And because every cat deserves the royal treatment, Hepper threw in a fluffy, cozy blanket to ensure their feline customers experience pure box comfort.
And this was no fly-by-night idea. It took months of research (i.e. watching cats nap).
The Human recently purchased two very squishy, furry and comfy cat beds for The Tribe and she still finds us snoozing in the latest Chewy box so this feline does not find this new product surprising.
Learn more about Hepper’s “Just a Box” here.
TikTok Tracked a Cat’s Account to Spy on a Journalist
For you humans who are concerned about outside entities tracking you, now you need to be worried about your cat’s privacy being invaded as well. A handful of ByteDance employees in the US and China tracked a cat’s TikTok account in order to find the IP address of its owner, a reporter covering the company.
Buffy, a black and white Maine Coon-looking kitty reportedly had 170 followers and 20 posts when the employees viewed the data. The traumatizing tracking has reportedly forced Buffy off of social media: Cristina Criddle, the cat’s owner and a reporter for the Financial Times, said Buffy “sadly is no longer making content.” Meowza, this is concerning for these journalist felines but we do not use Tik Tok.
Criddle revealed details of the tracking in a recent article detailing the moments TikTok fessed up to tracking her location in a botched effort to sniff out a leaker in the company. Criddle says she received a “cryptic” phone call from a TikTok PR director in December right before the holidays informing her she was one of two journalists who had been surveilled by four employees. The employees monitored the reporters’ location data to see if they were in the proximity of ByteDance employees who could be connected to the leak. It didn’t work.
“It was just really chilling and horrible and, personally, quite violating,” Criddle told the BBC. Criddle said she used the account from her mobile device but that her own name and occupation were not included in the bio. The reporter says she still hasn’t received complete answers from ByteDance about how long she was tracked. TikTok did not respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
The journalist still reports on the company but says she now uses her old device as a “dummy phone” stored at her office and kept solely for accessing the app. Criddle said she’s had to cut back on both her and Buffy’s social media use across platforms following the incident. Even now, months later, she says anxiety induced by the monitoring still keeps her up at night.
“At times I have struggled to sleep, thinking about what ByteDance employees might have found out about me,” Criddle said. “For a while, I often canceled plans out and, whenever I spoke to or met new sources, I felt on edge.”
The tracking effort ultimately failed to find the leaker and resulted in a publicity nightmare for ByteDance and TikTok. As a result of the snafu, ByteDance fired all four of the employees involved in the scheme and re-structured its internal audit team. Still, the missteps only emboldened the company’s critics, who’ve spoken out about Chinese employees accessing US user data. Lawmakers from both parties grilled TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew over the issue during a combative hearing in March. Chew claimed the monitoring didn’t amount to “spying.” Either way, the employee’s actions caught the attention of the Department of Justice, which has launched an investigation into the company.
Good grief, not even cats are safe on the web any more!
Calls for statue to honor Liverpool station cat
A statue in memory of a cat which frequented a railway station for 13 years should be erected in its honour, fans of the feline have said.
The mischievous feline, named Paul Newman after the Hollywood star, died this week aged 15.The pedigree Bengal cat was well-known by commuters and travelers passing through Liverpool South Parkway. A Facebook page following his antics over the years has nearly 5,000 followers.
Paul Newman’s owner, Steff Hudson, said her pet had brought people “a lot of joy”.
“He loved people so he found a niche here because people always stopped to say hello to him because he always stopped to say hello to them,” “I was very lucky because he was mine, but he was also all of theirs as well and he gave them a lot of joy.”
In a tweet Merseyrail said: “We are sad to hear that Paul, our much loved feline friend often found at Liverpool South Parkway, has passed away. He will be missed.”
James Smith, Merseyrail acting HR Director, said Paul the cat was “a much-loved character” and “valued by Merseyrail staff as much as our passengers”.
“Discussions are ongoing internally about the best and most appropriate way of remembering Paul and the wonderful, positive impact he made to thousands of travellers on the Merseyrail network,” he said.
Following the announcement of his death, Paul’s fans took to the Facebook page to share memories of their furry friend. Ms Hudson said she would have “no objection” to a statue in his honour “as long as it was a good likeness to him because he was very, very handsome, like his namesake”.
These US states prefer dogs over cats: or so they say
The age-old debate of “cats versus dogs” has long been a topic of playful rivalry between the two household pets, both of which have maintained their positions as the most popular pets in America for decades. Instacard used data from pet food purchases to bring some data to the argument.
Dogs dominate in the U.S. with 36 states showing more dog food purchases, including the entire South, and nearly all of the West Coast, Midwest, and a bit of the East Coast.
Fourteen states plus Washington, D.C. are team cat, including nearly the entire Northeast – New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Maine, and others – as well as Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington.
Based on Insta Cart purchase data, here are the top 5 cat treat brands that have clawed their way to the top.
All I have to say to the folks at Insta Cart is, “NOT SO FAST” . Although I understand you are using your sales data, please note, there are other pet food delivery companies and I wonder what their data would show. This Tribe orders all their food and supplies from Chewy.